Embrace uncertainty. I am a big fan of Excel, having been blown away when I first saw the power of Visicalc on an Apple. Unfortunately the analytical power of Excel sometimes leads us to depend too much on the forecasts we develop with it. We live in a world full of uncertainty, both technology and nature create unexpected disruptions that can make the past very poor predictors of the future.
Maintaining momentum toward your long term goals in such a world requires a strategic rhythm of observing the competitive landscape and re-orienting when necessary. Hard work in the wrong direction will not get you to your long term goals. The sooner you make a course correction the easier it will be to achieve those goals.
Keeping an eye on where you are going while dealing with the day to day tactical issues of running a business requires a systematic approach. The system must include at least 3 things:
- Rhythm -A regularly scheduled time to focus on the strategy of achieving your long term goals.
- Data – Information on the current state of your business and your market.
- Perspective – Multiple views of the available information from diverse experiences.
An outside Board of Directors is one systematic approach. It can be difficult for small to medium sized private companies to build an outside Board. Another option is a CEO peer group. CEO peer groups provide each member business owner/CEO access to the collective wisdom of a group of non-competitive CEOs. The group serves as a sounding board, brain storming team, and source of accountability for each member.
Regardless of how you choose to maintain your strategic rhythm, don’t fall victim to the “accuracy” of your or anyone else’s forecasts. Embrace uncertainty and turn it to your advantage by maneuvering more quickly than your competitors.